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F-104G Starfighter – Greek Air Force, Mount Olympus

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F-104G Starfighter “Mount Olympus”, of the Greek Air Force. Finished in superb black, blue and off white markings, this is a fabulous model to add to your collection with exquisite panel lines. Comes complete with optional undercarriage and canopy positions plus display stand. Production run of 2,784 models, of which only a few were imported to the UK. Box is not perfect but model is superb.              Length 9.25″            Width 3.75″

Greece originally received 45 F-104Gs and 6 TF-104Gs under the US MAP (Military Assistance Program) in 1964. In 1972 used planes started to be bought with nine more F-104Gs and one TF-104G aircraft acquired from Spain, ten more F-104Gs from the
Netherlands in 1982. The largest purchase came when a further thirty eight F-104Gs, twenty two RF-104Gs and twenty TF-104Gs were bought from West Germany. The West German planes were acquired mainly between 1981 – 1988. With one hundred second hand planes some were mothballed and used as spare parts. Originally flown with just the natural metal finish they eventually were given a camouflage 3 color paint scheme on top of  olive drab / dark green / sand, the bottom was a light grey.
These planes were flown by two Greek squadrons, the first being 335 Mira from the 114 Pterix (Wing) based at Tanagra AB. The second was 336 Mira, also based at Tanagra AB at the time. December 21st 1966 saw 336 Mira move to a new base at 116 Pterix at Araxos AB. The F-104 went on in the Hellenic Air Force service until 1993 when 336 “Olympus” Mira Diokseos Bombardismou (Fighter-Bomber Squadron) was deactivated March 31.

The F-104G was known as the Super Starfighter, with the G standing for Germany, because they were among the first foreign orders for the Lockheed plane and they placed the largest order. Depending on the source there were between 1,122 and 1,700 G
models built under license by 4 European companies, Canadair and Lockheed. The G was a multi-role all weather single seat fighter-bomber with a new upward firing ejection seat, a strengthened fuselage and wings, increased internal fuel capacity, new improved full length flaps added to the wings leading edge for better combat maneuvering, a larger vertical fin, a new radar system with air-air and air-ground modes, inertial navigation that made the F-104G the first production fighter to receive this new equipment,  new infrared sight, an additional hard-point under each wing, improved weapons capability now was 4,000 lbs and beefed up landing gear and larger wheels to carry all the added weight of the improvements. The larger gear and wheels made it necessary to create a bulge in the fuselage to accommodate them. The G even received a new engine, though it didn’t
deliver any more power it was a much more reliable engine. The G was considered the best version of the F-104.
The U.S. only accepted 296 Starfighters before it was considered to be less than satisfactory. With modifications the F-104 was sold to many NATO countries, using what was to become known as “Deal of the Century”. This brought about an extremely large
income for Lockheed and caused a huge political controversy in Europe. The general feeling was that the countries bought the F-104 only after they were brow beaten by U.S. political powers and a considerable amount of funds were given as bribes to the people in European governments responsible for aircraft procurement. There was a huge outcry in Germany and the minister of defence was forced to resign. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was also linked to the scandal and later admitted taking over 1 million dollars US. Later in the 1970s it was revealed that Lockheed had in deed been involved in political bribery in an effort to save the company that was going through hard times and close to bankruptcy. Furthermore, after many F-104 crashes and deaths the general consensus was the Starfighter was an unsafe plane. What might have been the defining answer to the question of “was the Starfighter a safe plane” Oberleutnant von Hassel, the son of the new German minister of defence was killed in an F-104G. The last Starfighter flew in military service until 2004 when Italy finally retired them.

 

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